FORATOM, which represents Europe’s nuclear industry, said new atomic power generation will need financial support as long as carbon prices are low and hit back at EU regulators’ criticism of funding for a plant to be built by EDF.The European Commission, the EU regulator, has launched an in-depth investigation into Britain’s plan to provide public funding for a 19 billion euro ($26.37 billion) nuclear plant to be built at Hinkley Point in Britain.A 68-page letter to the British government from EU regulators, made public earlier this year, was strongly critical of the British funding, saying it effectively insulated EDF and its investment partners from the market. The Commission also questioned the nuclear project’s environmental credentials, saying although nuclear generation is carbon-free, its impact on the environment can be substantial. “FORATOM regrets that the European Commission did not limit its comments solely to the state aid and competition aspects of the Hinkley Point deal, but expressed misgivings about the use of nuclear power per se,” it said in a statement issued on Thursday.
Reuters 10th April 2014 read more »
A former nuclear industry safety official has written a novel based on his fears that it would become easier for terrorists to cripple the UK if the Government gives the go-ahead to big infrastructure projects such as Sizewell C. Barrie Skelcher was head of the health physics department at Sizewell A during the 1960s and 70s and went on to become technical officer at Sizewell B. His novel, The Day England Died, is due to be published by the Book Guild on April 24. It tells the story of a group of terrorists planning an attack on a nuclear power complex – by blowing up the pylons connecting it to the grid and disabling emergency generators which could be used to help cool the reactors and prevent a Fukushima-scale disaster. Although the name Sizewell is not mentioned in the novel, the terrorists base themselves in Suffolk 20 miles from a former fishing village where there is a nuclear site.
East Anglia Daily Times 13th April 2014 read more »
Roe Deer are: “excellent bio-indicators and sentinels of environmental contamination. Because of their extremely rapid and efficient deposition of minerals in bone, they are recognised as important sources of data in respect of heavy metal and radioactive isotope accumulation. Given the nature of the industrial work at Sellafield, the regular sampling of deer bone and liver tissue might be an attractive prospect for those responsible for environmental monitoring at the site.”
101 uses for nuclear power 13th April 2014 read more »
Hitachi announced that it will establish a new R&D base in the UK – the European Nuclear Research Centre (ENRC) – by the end of September 2014. The Centre will have the aim of facilitating the development of safe and efficient nuclear power technologies based on advanced plant maintenance technology and proven decommissioning techniques in Europe, as part of Hitachi’s plan to expand its overseas nuclear power business.
Energy Business Review 11th April 2014 read more »
Climate scientists have backed Britain’s shale gas revolution – saying it could help to slow global warming. The world’s leading experts on climate change say fracking will cut greenhouse gas emissions and should be made central to the country’s energy production. Nuclear power could make an ‘increasing contribution to low-carbon energy supply’, the report finds, but says ‘operation risks’ such as disposing of radioactive waste mean there are a ‘variety of barriers’.
Daily Mail 14th April 2014 read more »
Catastrophic climate change can be averted without sacrificing living standards according to a UN report, which concludes that the transformation required to a world of clean energy is eminently affordable. “It doesn’t cost the world to save the planet,” said economist Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, who led the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) team. The cheapest and least risky route to dealing with global warming is to abandon all dirty fossil fuels in coming decades, the report found. Gas – including that from the global fracking boom – could be important during the transition, Edenhofer said, but only if it replaced coal burning.
Guardian 13th April 2014 read more »
By starting right now to end the era of dirty fossil fuels and create a new world of clean energy, not only do you ensure you arrive at your destination – a safer world – but you also get the cheapest ticket. The report’s message was as clear as a travel agent’s advertisement: buy now or pay a premium later.
Guardian 13th April 2014 read more »
The Government has called for a new ambitious deal on global emissions in wake of a landmark United Nations report that demands bold action to avert a climate change catastrophe. The final part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, produced by 1,250 international experts and approved by 194 governments, was published yesterday. The Secretary of State for Energy Ed Davey said in response: “We need a worldwide, large-scale change to our energy system if we are to limit the effects of climate change”. Vince Dale, CEO of UK green energy supplier Ecotricity, said that while the government has acknowledged warnings from the UN about climate change they are “clearly pulling in the opposite direction”. “The Conservatives appear to have an ideological opposition to renewable energy and have taken a series of steps in the past 24 months to curb the onshore wind and solar industries,” he said. “It’s been clear this Conservative Government has laying the groundwork to replace clean wind power with dirty fossil fuels in the form of shale gas fracking.”
Independent 13th April 2014 read more »
UN climate chiefs have backed fracking as part of the solution to global warming – but warned that a massive expansion of green energy will be crucial to prevent devastating extremes of climate change. In a report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found it was still just possible to limit the rise in average global temperatures to 3.6F (2C) by 2100, the level beyond which experts say the effects will be “dangerous”.
Telegraph 13th April 2014 read more »
The European Union must do more” to lead worldwide efforts to limit climate change, the UK government has said. Speaking after the UN urged moving from fossil fuels to renewable sources, Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said other countries must try to be as “ambitious” as the UK. It was possible to make such changes in a “cheap” way, he told the BBC. But Labour said there had been a “decline in investment in green energy” under the coalition government. The long-awaited UN report on how to curb climate change said the world must rapidly move away from carbon-intensive fuels. There must be a “massive shift” to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, it argued, saying natural gas was an important stage in a movement away from oil and coal.
BBC 13th Aril 2014 read more »
National Grid’s emergency plan to keep the lights on this year is in disarray, energy companies have warned. The grid operator is planning to set up a strategic reserve of power stations to come online during peak demand this winter to avert the risk of blackouts. The power stations would be paid special subsidies to take part, funded by levies on consumers’ bills. However, National Grid will not decide which plants will form the reserve until August, which energy companies say will not give them enough time to bring mothballed plants back online.
The Times 14th April 2014 read more »
Japan – plutonium
The U.S. government has expressed “grave concern” to Japanese officials over Tokyo’s spent nuclear fuel reprocessing program as it increases Japan’s stockpile of plutonium and the risk of proliferation, according to a joint investigation by The Asahi Shimbun and the Center for Public Integrity, a U.S. nonprofit journalism organization. With the nation’s 48 nuclear reactors offline, the planned start-up of a plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, which will extract plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, will only increase Japan’s already-growing stockpile of plutonium, U.S. nuclear policy experts said. If the plant starts operations as early as this year, it would pose serious concerns about the Obama administration’s efforts to control nuclear proliferation, they said. In April last year, Daniel Poneman, U.S. deputy secretary of energy, told Tatsujiro Suzuki, then vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission, during Suzuki’s visit to the United States that he was deeply concerned that Japan would have more stocks of separated plutonium from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel while there is no plan for consumption.
Asahi Shimbun 13th April 2014 read more »
Japan – reactors
Japan’s ailing electricity companies have welcomed a government decision to restart the nation’s nuclear power plants, three years after they were shut down in the wake of the Fukushima accident. The Japanese parliament has approved an energy policy that calls for the prompt reinstatement of nuclear power as the nation’s “baseload power source” as soon as its 48 reactors have been vetted for safety by a new regulator.
Times 14th April 2014 read more »
Finland – Olkiluoto
The Finnish Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) has approved the overall instrumentation and control (I&C) system plan for the Olkiluoto 3 European pressurized water reactor (EPR) being constructed in Helsinki, Finland. The approval is part of a series of significant progress made in 2014 for the Olkiluoto 3 EPR reactor, following successfull completion of the reactor containment tightness tests in February.
Energy Business Review 14th April 2014 read more »
Germany – Energiewende
The subtle redesign of Germany energy policy agreed by the government in Berlin last week sends some important signals not for the German market but for the rest of Europe. Far from damaging the renewables business the move could be the salvation of the sector. Other countries, the UK included would do well to adopt similar measures. This would be the most effective way of responding to the urgency expressed in the latest IPCC report. The proposals from the German economics and energy minister Sigmar Gabriel start from the simple belief that costs matter. In his words we are “no longer following the illusion that energy transformation can be achieved by expanding renewable energy as quickly as possible”. The risk of the costs involved placing an unsustainable burden on ordinary consumers and business is too high. Germany remains and clearly wants to remain an industrial economy. In place of open ended subsidies he has put in place a series of constraints. Onshore wind capacity can expand by no more than 2.5 gigawatts a year. Photovoltaics – that is solar power – are subject to the same cap. Offshore wind – the most expensive source of all – can expand by a maximum of 6.5GW by 2020. Most important of all from 2017 onwards the renewables sector within the electricity market will be subject to competition and there will be no guaranteed prices.
FT 13th April 2014 read more »
Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and is currently the world’s 12th largest oil producer, pumping 2.25 million barrels per day. Nigeria in 2012 was also the world’s fourth leading exporter of LNG. According to the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration, “Nigeria has one of the lowest net electricity generation per capita rates in the world. Electricity generation falls short of demand, resulting in load shedding, blackouts, and a reliance on private generators. Nigeria is in the process of privatizing the state-owned Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in hopes that it will lead to greater investment and increased power generation.”
Oil Price 13th April 2014 read more »
On Monday, April 7, the world’s largest democratic elections began in what will likely be the world’s most populous country within the next ten years. Between April 7 and May 12, 815 million Indian voters cast their votes at 930,000 different polling stations. The electoral system in India is similar to the British parliamentary system. Voters are choosing 543 parliamentarians, who in turn will nominate a prime minister. If the results announced on May 16 indicate no actual majority, alliances will be formed and a coalition government will come to power. The election will take place between three dominant political parties: the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the incumbent Congress Party, which has been in power for much of India’s history, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The latter is a much younger party and a more regional political party in terms of strength. The AAP has also come out strongly against nuclear energy in India.
Oil Price 13th April 2014 read more »
FIREFIGHTERS were called to Devonport Dockyard on Sunday to rescue a casualty who had fallen in a submarine. A specialist rescue crew from Camels Head and another appliance from Greenbank went to the incident at about 7pm. A Royal Navy spokeswoman said a contractor had had an accident on board HMS Vengeance. He was taken to Derriford Hospital for treatment to injuries which were “serious but not life-threatening”. She said the accident was not nuclear-related.
Plymouth Herald 13th April 2014 read more »
The first tidal power conference involving more than 20 local authorities and organisations around the Bristol Channel coast will be hosted by West Somerset Council on April 16. West Somerset is already at the forefront of 21st century power production as it is the host authority for the proposed new nuclear plant, Hinkley Point C. The invitation-only conference comes at a time when a tidal power lagoon is being considered in Swansea Bay to exploit the natural power potential of the Bristol Channel which has the second highest tidal range in the world.
About my area 12th April 2014 read more »
For this simple reason, it remains the world’s main source of power, providing a quarter of our primary energy and more than 40% of our electricity. And it will continue to do so for many years to come. The challenge, then, is how to harness coal’s energy more cleanly. While global attempts to develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) have stalled, a number of countries are looking at different ways to exploit their abundant coal reserves. Not all are motivated by environmental concerns, but are driven instead by economics and a desire for energy independence. The main technology being used is coal gasification – instead of burning the fossil fuel, it is chemically transformed into synthetic natural gas (SNG). The process is decades old, but recent rises in the price of gas mean it is now more economically vi able. The US has dabbled in the technique, but China is going all out in a bid to satisfy its soaring demand for power and reduce its dependency on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG).
BBC 14th April 2014 read more »
If we’re going to curb the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, the world’s governments need to co-operate – and they’re running out of time to do it. That’s one of the top-line messages from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest mega-report into current and future greenhouse gas emissions. The full report runs to thousands of pages, providing an overview of all the research in the area. In order to complete it, the scientists assessed more than 1200 scenarios for how the future might unfold from different studies. The report’s summary is slightly more digestible, at just 33 pages. Here’s our run-down of its key points.
Carbon Brief 13th April 2014 read more »